Part of a building’s overall fire safety is making sure that your building has a photoluminescent egress path marking system and exit signs. In the event of a fire, occupants become scared and rush to the nearest exit to get away from danger. But if the exits aren’t clearly marked, occupants could become confused and unsure of which way to head towards safety. And in all the panic, they could become stuck in a bad situation that could lead to injuries or even death.
Being trapped in a burning building is a frightening thing. And although the fear of burning is terrifying enough, smoke seems to take the most victims in the event of a fire. Smoke rises, and can quickly fill any room, hallway, and stairwell. According to NFPA, smoke travels 120 – 420 feet per minute under fire conditions. Not only does smoke spread quickly, but it can cause occupants to become disorientated and cloud their vision. Trying to evacuate from a burning building while staying calm is difficult enough. Smoke masking your line of vision makes evacuation seem almost impossible. But one device that should be a part of facilities fire and life safety plan is photoluminescent (PL) egress path marking system and exit signs.
Photoluminescent egress path marking system and exit signs are used to help illuminate steps, landings, handrails and any other obstacles in smoky conditions. Dark and smoky hallways and stairwells seems to be where most accidents occur. Occupants may slip, trip and fall, or bump into something they can’t see in the dark or smoke. But PL allows a building to have continuous visual support up to 48 hours in black out or smoky condition. It requires no electricity, and produces sunlight or recycles existing electrical light. Therefore, PL doesn’t need to rely on any emergency backup system or maintenance in order to glow.
Both the 2009 International Building Code (IBC) and the International Fire Code (IFC) state, “luminous egress path markings that outline the exit path should be provided in buildings having floors that are located more than 75 feet above the lowest level of a fire department vehicle”. Otherwise, occupants on top floors may find it difficult to evacuate and become trapped. Photoluminescent egress path marking system and exit signs are an important part to a buildings overall fire safety plan. Without it, people may not be able to navigate their way through the dark and smoke to safety.